It was a cold, dark November night in 2011, when my wife, Andre and I really had made up our mind that it was time to change from the current restaurant and bar and grill concept we had started in 2000. Since 2008, our existing concept was on a downhill slide. Despite hard work and dedication to the brand, sales continued to dwindle. Knowing what the break-even point was for our business, not a night went by, that we were not worried about keeping the doors open. So armed with a dream and vision, we set out on a journey to create what would become The Red Oak Pub. Having failed at another start up concept years earlier, we knew the risks involved.
We first looked far and wide for another business to franchise. What bothered both of us was that it was the same ole, same ole. Put a bar in, put some televisions up and serve the same average food that all the other chains were serving. Quite literally, get your food in a bag, warm it up. There you go. There is your average food. Nothing genuine or creative about that. In our heart, we knew that we had to be real, and create a truly, genuine product. Nothing that had been frozen, thawed out, warmed up, served to the customer. There had to be hard work, creative recipes, and systems established. We knew we had to bring in the best, freshest food to make sure the customer received the best meal possible. We also knew that it did not have to be expensive. One of our favorite foods throughout our live was a Cheeseburger. We knew that if we could find the best beef recipe, grill it on a char broiler, not a flat top grill, and develop some genuine, great tasting, house made sauces, with the best and freshest toppings, we had a chance. We also knew that if we could get the best core items, buns, oils, dressings, produce etc., we would be successful. Now, all we had to do was…do it!!!
So here we were, all dressed up with nowhere to go. All of these ideas in our head, now had to be on paper, and then we needed to surround ourselves with the best people in the business and all would be good to go. So, that is what we did.
With the full support of our families, we shared our vision with our longtime managers Heather & Alma. We wanted to have the best Burgers, best American food, along with great domestic & craft beer, in a clean, family fun filled atmosphere. After sharing the vision with them, they agreed that it was time to make a change.
So the day arrived for the remodel. We had done all of the proper planning before that day to ensure that the conversion went as smoothly as possible. I woke up at five that morning and by 5 that night the dining room was empty. No furniture, booths, greenery. Nothing!!! Out with the old and in with the new. Here comes the Red Oak!!! With all of the hard work from our staff and all of the local contractors, The Red Oak had been created. We were pouring beer, and serving test food in 21 days!!! That was an unbelievable feat!!! One that we still wonder, how it was done.
Our menu had 10 appetizers, 8 salads, 12 burgers, 9 entrees, 4 desserts. Not a huge menu, but every item was excellent. The staff had done it. Andre and I had done it. The Red Oak was ready to go!!! So we opened the doors on Thursday June 26, 2012. What a great day. The community was starving for a great, locally owned, family friendly place to go. Where the customer was truly valued. That is exactly what they got.
The vision for The Red Oak is not certain. We live in an amazing, ever changing world. One thing is certain. That as long as The Red Oak Pub is around, our customer will always be able to see what great joy we have when we serve them.
Thank you for your business.
Michael and Andre Sarap